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Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Thursday

D.J. Trainor

NBA expert for RotoWire, working out of RW HQ in Madison. Award winning host of RW Basketball Podcast and frequent NBA TV guest. NCAA Student Radio Call of the Week Award Winner with WSUM Radio.


Defenses to Avoid
Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors: There are only four teams to choose from, but the Warriors’ defense would still deserve this attention during a night with more games. Although they are primarily known for their offensive explosiveness, Golden State has managed to hold their opponents to 43.6 percent from the field, which is good enough for fourth best in the league. The reinsertion of Andrew Bogut (pelvis) into the lineup will only strengthen the Warriors’ frontcourt and Stephen Curry will likely be a menace to a depleted Nuggets’ frontcourt all game. In addition, the Warriors haven’t played since Sunday while the Nuggets are on the final leg of a back-to-back.

Offenses to Use
San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks: The Spurs boast one of the top defenses in the league, but again, there are only four teams to choose from and San Antonio is always prone to mailing it in this time of year. They only have four games left on the schedule and lead the Thunder by three games, so their place at the top of the Western Conference is all but cemented. Conversely, the Mavericks are still battling for playoff position and will have a lot to play for during Thursday’s contest, not to mention that Dallas averages 104.9 points per game as it is.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back:San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors.
Second game of a back-to-back:Denver Nuggets. DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
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Point Guard
Aaron Brooks, DEN (at GSW) PG, ($5,800): The Nuggets have struggled this season and will likely continue to do so when they face the Warriors on Thursday. Adding to the team’s woes, Ty Lawson (ankle) has been unable to stay healthy and Brooks has had to step in. He has proven himself more than capable when given the start at point, and Thursday’s tilt is lining up to have Brooks at the helm once again. If this indeed happens, Brooks far exceeds his purchase price.

Other suggestions: Stephen Curry, GSW (vs. DEN) PG/SG ($9,900).

Shooting Guard
Kawhi Leonard, SAN (at DAL) SG/SF, ($6,700): Normally the best play at the shooting guard position is a natural point guard that has high assist ability, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The fact that there are only four games leads to some less than ideal acquisitions, but Leonard offers consistent production, especially for his price tag at the moment. He’s averaged 18.0 points over his lasts three games and will stand a chance to display his youth against the aging veterans of Shawn Marion and Vince Carter.

Other suggestions: Randy Foye, DEN (at GSW) PG/SG ($5,500).

Small Forward
Draymond Green, GSW (vs. DEN) SF ($5,000): The extended absence of David Lee will likely continue Thursday, which will allow Green to remain in the starting lineup to fill his place. Green’s averaged 32.8 minutes on the court over his last five games and poses a threat to have a well-rounded box score when afforded enough minutes. Green will have his hands full with the defensive matchup of Kenneth Faried, but still offers a starter’s production for the price of a reserve player.

Other suggestions: Klay Thompson, GSW (vs. DEN) SG/SF ($7,200).

Power Forward
Kenneth Faried, DEN (at GSW) PF ($8,000): Denver hasn’t had much to find delight in during the latter part of the season, but Faried’s late-season resurgence is becoming a bright spot in an otherwise dim year. He’s been on a tear of late as he’s recorded six double-doubles in his last nine attempts. This bodes well in a night that’s scarce for reliable production. The Nuggets are on the second game of a back-to-back which is somewhat concerning, but Faried will be a hard option to pass on with the lack of depth that Thursday’s NBA schedule presents.

Other suggestions: Dirk Nowitzki, DAL (vs. SAN) PF/C ($9,100).

Timofey Mozgov, DEN (at GSW) C ($4,600): There’s not many solid options at the center position during Thursday’s slate of games, so considering your options, Mozgov may be as good as it gets for the price. He has been able to score in double-digits for five consecutive games, and the combination of his reliability and price tag allows for the flexibility to go out and pick up a bigger producer somewhere else in the night’s lineup. Golden State’s frontcourt has had to deal with various injuries and dingers, so Mozgov’s path to a productive game is less resistant than usual.

Other suggestions:Tim Duncan, SAN (at DAL) PF/C ($7,800).


Tony Parker (back) will miss Thursday’s game.

Game-Time Decision
David Lee (hamstring/back) was able to practice Wednesday.
Ty Lawson (ankle) did not play Wednesday, and is likely out again Thursday
Wilson Chandler (groin) did not play Wednesday, and is likely out again Thursday
Aron Baynes (ribs) has missed the last five games.
Shawn Marion (foot) is expected to play.
Manu Ginobili (calf) is expected to play, but may get limited minutes.
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.